Oumar Diouf’s Festive Jollof Rice

From Three Tales of Festive Rice

Photo by Scott Peterson


clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon

Oumar Diouf’s Festive Jollof Rice

  • Author: Oumar Diouf
  • Yield: Serves 4


Following Senegalese culinary tradition, Oumar Diouf uses broken rice, a grain that’s deliberately broken during production. He says it turns out fluffier and absorbs more flavors in cooking. Broken rice is also found in cuisines across Southeast Asia, so any 99 Ranch or smaller shop selling Thai or Vietnamese ingredients should have it. Plain basmati or jasmine rice will work, too. Visit Oumar Diouf at the Damel, his restaurant in Oakland, California.


Units Scale
  • 2 cups broken rice (see headnote), soaked in water for at least 15 minutes
  • 4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 pound lamb (leg or shoulder), cut into small chunks
  • 6 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped, divided into 3 parts
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped shallot, divided
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste, divided
  • 1 habanero pepper (left whole)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 large white onion, diced
  • 1 red pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 green pepper, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • Salt, black pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • Garnishes (optional): Sliced hard boiled eggs, cocktail onions, sliced scallions, pitted black olives, chopped parsley, sliced green and red peppers, or other colorful elements


Partly pre-cook the soaked rice by steaming it in a sieve over the simmering vegetable broth or water, covered, for 10–15 minutes. (When rice is finished steaming, leave liquid simmering for use throughout dish preparation.) Alternately, cook soaked and drained rice in a glass bowl in the microwave. Cook for 2 minutes, then stir and add 3 tablespoons water, then steam in microwave for another 2 minutes.

Marinate lamb in a large pot with salt, pepper, and ⅓ of the chopped garlic for 10 minutes. Without adding any oil, turn on the heat under the pot, cover, and let the lamb steam in its own liquid until dry, 7–10 minutes.

Add 2–3 tablespoons olive oil to the saucepan with the lamb and brown the meat, about 5 minutes. Turn down the heat to medium and add ¼ cup chopped shallot and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Cook, stirring, until tomato paste darkens, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 cup of the simmering water or broth to the lamb mixture along with the habanero, ⅓ of the chopped garlic, and the remaining ¼ cup chopped shallot. Cook for 5 minutes, remove habanero, and let cook for 10 minutes more, partly covered, until meat is tender. Add bay leaf, salt to taste, and another cup of the simmering water or broth along with the pre-steamed rice. Mix, cover, and cook on low heat for 30 minutes, adding more broth or water as needed.

For the sauce: In a medium bowl, combine diced onion, chopped red and green peppers, remaining chopped garlic, vinegar, ground black pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, remaining bay leaf, and Dijon mustard. Stir and let marinate for 10 minutes.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over high heat. Add chopped onion and red pepper mixture and make an open space in the center for the remaining 1 tablespoon tomato paste. Cook for 3–4 minutes, then stir tomato paste into the onion mixture along with any remaining simmering broth and cook on low heat for 15 minutes.

To serve: Pile lamb and rice on a serving plate, pour sauce over top, and decorate with the optional garnishes

  • Category: entree